cel4145's blog

Grow the OER Commons from within the Academic Disciplines: Part II

Earlier this week, I had a conversation with someone in GVSU Provost's office about opportunity costs and prioritizing spending and projects at the university. I realized that I'm not sure that I would support a mandate at GVSU that all faculty share all of their course materials under Creative Commons licenses in an institutional repository. Here are some of the concerns that I have:

Exit OpenOffice, Welcome LibreOffice

Good news in the open source community. The main OpenOffice developers and supporters have left the official OpenOffice project to start the Document Foundation. As Ars Technica explains,

Their goal is to liberate the project from Oracle's control and create a more inclusive and participatory ecosystem around the software.

Grow the OER Commons from within the Academic Disciplines

Currently, I am participating in an online forum discussing issues related to OER, hosted by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and there is lots of discussion about institutional sharing of OER. Stephen Downes recently raised the following point,

These forums have a habit of becoming discussions of how these resources can be produced by institutions and used by teachers in the classroom. Inevitably, the issues then become (a) the cost of institutions producing them, and (b) how to get teachers to actually use them. But it would be a more fruitful, and more accurate, discussion to consider OERs, first, in the much wider context of community production, and second, in the much wider context of use (and reuse) outside the institutional educational context.

Starting an Open Textbook? Think 100 or 200 Level Courses

For teachers who are thinking about starting an open textbook project for their discipline, one good strategy could be to target an entry level college course within their discipline. I can think of three good reasons to do so: impact on students, the size of the potential author community, and transformative effects on the commercial textbook market.

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